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  1. Utilizing group Contingencies Matthew Habedank, B.S. Northwestern Counseling & Support Services

  2. Why Group Contingencies?

  3. What is a Group Contingency? “A group contingency is one in which a common consequence (usually, but not necessarily, a reward intended to function as reinforcement) is contingent on the behavior of one member of the group, the behavior of part of the group, or the behavior of everyone in the group.” (Litow & Pumroy, 1975, cited in Cooper et al., 2007)

  4. Advantages • Saves time and effort – one practitioner can arrange and monitor consequences for a large group simultaneously • Can be used in a situation in which individual contingency is impractical • Easily combined with otherbehavior techniques or strategies

  5. Advantages • May capitalize on peer influence or monitoring • Thoughtful structure to reduce potential negative effects or scapegoating • Can be used to help facilitate inclusion and/or reduce stigmatization

  6. Types of Group Contingencies • Three main types : • Independent • Dependent • Interdependent • Selection of a type of contingency based on programmatic goals, parental/teacher input, and student feedback whenever possible and practical

  7. Independent Group Contingencies • Contingency presented to all members of the group, reinforcement delivered only to group members who meet criteria • Frequently combined w/ Contingency Contacting and/or Token Reinforcement • Lloyd, Eberhardt, & Drake (1996)

  8. Dependent Group Contingencies Your Face Here • Reinforcement for the group as a whole is dependent on individual or small group meeting criteria • “Hero Procedure” • Can help facilitate positive peer interactions and support • Williamson, Campbell-Whatley, & Lo (2009)

  9. Interdependent Group Contingencies • All group members must meet criteria of contingency in order to access reinforcement • “All or none” • Have a theoretical advantage over dependent and independent contingencies – peer pressure

  10. Interdependent Group Contingencies • Contingency can be delivered: • When group as a whole meets criteria, • When a predetermined mean score is achieved, or • When all members of the group meet criteria • Some or all components (target student, behaviors, or reinforcers) can be randomized to increase effect

  11. Interdependent Group Contingencies - Variations • Total Group Meets Criterion • Variation in which group as a whole is working together to achieve a certain criterion level to earn reinforcement • e.g. Class accumulating points to earn reward, employees produce a predetermined number of widgets in a month and earn a day off, marble jar • Lewis, Powers, Kelk, & Newcomer (2002)

  12. Interdependent Group Contingencies - Variations • Group Averaging • Variation in which group performance on a given target is averaged, and reinforcement (or punishment) is delivered contingent on amount of increase/decrease • Test scores, % correct on assignment, % intervals on task, etc. • Lloyd, Eberhardt, & Drake (1996)

  13. Interdependent Group Contingencies - Variations • Good Behavior Game • Barrish, Saunders, & Wolf (1969) • Variation in which a group is divided into two or more teams, which can earn reinforcement if they have either the fewest instances of target behavior as well as if fewer than a predetermined criteria • Competition occurs within teams and against criteria, not against other group

  14. Interdependent Group Contingencies - Variations • Good Student Game • Babyak, Luze, & Kamps (2000) • Variation which combines interdependent group contingency with self-monitoring • Can involve either group or individual monitoring – goal is to increase positive behavior, reinforcement delivered when group/individual meets or exceeds a certain level of target behavior

  15. Guidelines for Implementing • Choose an Effective Reward • Generalized conditioned reinforcers are a good bet • Make sure reward is powerful enough to motivate

  16. Guidelines for Implementing • Thoughtful Selection of Target Behavior • Be mindful of effect on collateral behaviors

  17. Guidelines for Implementing • Set Appropriate Performance Criteria • Participants must have prerequisite skills • Average-, high-, or low-performance levels as criteria standard • Average – performance is averaged, reinforcement contingent on average or higher • High – high score/level required for reinforcement • Low – low score/level required for reinforcement • Match performance level criteria to group – effectiveness may vary among group members

  18. Guidelines for Implementing • Combine with other procedures when appropriate – DRL, DRH, Token Economy, Contingency Contracts, self-monitoring, antecedent based procedures, etc., etc. • Select the most appropriate contingency – goals of program, group dynamics, environmental factors, parent/participant feedback

  19. Guidelines for Implementing • Monitor individual and group performance – consider group sabotage, low-performing members, consider individual contingencies

  20. Other Examples • Cihak, Kirk, & Boon (2009) • Coogan, Kehle, Bray, & Chafouleas (2007) • Ling, Hawkins, & Weber (2011) • Heering & Wilder (2006)

  21. Scenarios • Design a group contingency based on the given scenario and selected type of contingency. • Discuss: • Target behaviors (remember fair pair) • Target student(s) • Parameters of the contingency • Reinforcement strategies • Data collection • Possible barriers, concerns, pitfalls, etc. • Training needed in advance • Other information which would have been helpful

  22. References • Babyak, A., Luze, G., & Kamps, K. (2000). The good student game: behavior management for diverse classrooms. Intervention in School and Clinic, 35, 216 – 223. • Barrish, H., Saunders, M., & Wolf, M. (1969). Good behavior game: effects of individual contingencies for group consequences on disruptive behavior in a classroom. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2, 119 – 124. • Cihak, D., Kirk, E., & Boon, R. (2009). Effects of classwide positive peer “tootling” to reduce the disruptive classroom behaviors of elementary students with and without disabilities. Journal of Behavioral Education, 18, 267 – 278. • Coogan, B., Kehle, T., Bray, M., & Chafouleas, S. (2007). Group contingencies, randomization of reinforcers, and criteria for reinforcement, self-monitoring, and peer feedback on reducing inappropriate classroom behavior. School Psychology Quarterly, 22(4), 540 – 556. • Cooper, J., Heron, T., & Heward, W. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall. • Heering, P. & Wilder, D. (2006). The use of dependent group contingencies to increase on task behavior in two general education classrooms. Education and Treatment of Children, 29(3), 459 - 468.

  23. References (cont’d.) • Lewis, T., Powers, L., Kelk, M., & Newcomer, L. (2002). Reducing problem behaviors on the playground: an investigation of the application of schoolwide positive behavior supports. Psychology in the Schools, 39(2), 181 – 190. • Ling, S., Hawkins, R., & Weber, D. (2011). Effects of a classwide interdependent group contingency designed to improve the behavior of an at-risk student. Journal of Behavioral Education, 20, 103 – 116. • Lloyd, J., Eberhardt, M., & Drake, G. (1996). Group versus individual reinforcement contingencies within the context of group study conditions. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 189 – 200. • Williamson, B., Campbell-Whatley, G., & Lo, Y. (2009). Using a random dependent group contingency to increase on-task behaviors of high school students with high incidence disabilities. Psychology in the Schools, 46(10), 1074 – 1083.